As a result of lockdown-induced greater adoption of digital transactions and e-commerce, there has been a noticeable increase in social engineering and online fraud.
Online scammers have become sophisticated to look legit in the eyes of consumers. But no matter how elaborate their schemes may be, there is always a way to spot fraud before it’s too late.
And in this article, we will discuss 5 common characteristics of online scammers to increase your cyber wellness quotient and be safe in your digital space.
1. Scammers often play on greed or fear, the main ingredient of social engineering. In the first case, they will offer a quick-rich scheme like you’ve won a prize or there will be an anonymous donor of a huge amount. The second involves either intimidation, like a threat of blackmail, or fear, like you need to confirm your password.
In both cases, cybercriminals are trying to short-circuit their victim’s ability to respond rationally. If, after reading such an e-mail, you feel inclined to do exactly what the sender asks (follow a link, send money, call a number, etc.), that’s actually a warning sign.
2. Online fraudsters will force you to make an immediate decision. Emotionally charged situations and a deadline cause people to lose the power of critical thinking.
3. Scam artists almost often leave obvious errors in their messages. Some may be intentional misspellings or substitution of letters with similar-looking numbers or optical counterparts from other alphabets so as to fool spam filters. And other errors are well, errors because techie people whose first language is not English will not be able to fluently convey a message.
4. Online scammers will often draw you to a fraudulent website from an e-mail SMS, or chat message, and ask you to do something– take a survey, update your credentials, clean your computer from viruses, etc.
Regardless of the details, the overall purpose is simple and clear- get as much information from you and steal your credentials or make you purchase a product that is non-existent, or give money for a cause, invest or sponsor someone or pay for a service.
5. Another favorite trick after getting the attention of a victim is to request a small fee for card verification purposes, or payment for registration in some database in exchange for a bigger pay-out. The amount might be small, but the likelihood that your payment credentials have been compromised.
Cybercriminals are regularly evolving and schemes upgraded to monetize your trust and weaknesses. These five tell-tale signs will help you detect scammers at a glance.